Do Dogs "Fast" Themselves?

Postby Malli » April 13th, 2009, 3:38 am

My dog (APBT x AmBull) keeps himself lean, REALLY lean, but I think thats mainly his metabolism - he eats about 4-6 cups of food per day.

He'll also take himself off food occaisionally, but it usually indicates illness or an upset belly. :|

Its not a Pit Bull thing, its a dog thing, as I mentioned before.

Many dogs who feel nauseous (like people) will not want to eat or will refuse food; since dogs tend to eat a lot of things they shouldn't (any dog, even sometimes well-watched ones), they do things like skip meals and eat grass to try and help their bellies, but its not a breed thing, and it can vary individual to individual, some dogs will eat and vomit and repeat and repeat (or eat their vomit :puke: ). I think what you're noting is dogs that tend to be active and have high metabolisms :| Sighthound types IME TEND to have high metabolisms, and that is bred into them - for example, it reasons in breeding for speed you'd end up with dogs that kept the weight(leaner dogs would be faster) off via Metabolism.
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Postby mnp13 » April 13th, 2009, 10:48 am

Malli wrote:My dog (APBT x AmBull) keeps himself lean, REALLY lean, but I think thats mainly his metabolism - he eats about 4-6 cups of food per day.


How does he "keep himself" lean? To me, that implies that he is doing something specific to influence his weight.
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Postby ParisStreetPitCrew » April 13th, 2009, 12:52 pm

Jasmine (my lab/pit mix) will skip meals. I just figure she doesn't feel like eating just then. That's fine, missing a meal here or there is normal for her and it's not gonna hurt her any (weightwise).
She knows if she doesn't eat what I give her when I offer it, it will be taken away. We don't play games about it and sometimes she just looks at the bowl like "eh, ok" then goes back to bed. No harm done, she eats at the next meal.
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Postby Marinepits » April 13th, 2009, 2:40 pm

Slightly off-topic, but I think single dogs tend to eat differently than multiple dogs -- I've noticed among my own crew that, when we feed them all together, everyone eats quickly and then looks around to make sure there isn't any more food.

When we just had Samantha years ago, she'd pick at her food all day and never have a sense of urgency over eating (unless she was given steak, LOL). When we adopted Katy, Sam suddenly developed a VERY different eating pattern -- when the food was put down for them, they'd both eat quickly and not leave any in their dishes.

Normally we feed the whole crew together at the same time, twice per day. (Of course, they are all separated away from eachother so there is no fighting.) Now, due to Indy's illness and his changed feeding schedule, we feed the four on their regular schedule and Indy is fed upstairs at another time and away from everyone. Indy is usually a HOOVER and the second one done with his food when they're all together. When he's alone, he picks at his food and takes a long time chomping each piece. However, if he hears the other dogs coming up the stairs, he inhales his food.

I think it all comes back to competition for food among dog "packs".
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Postby LMM » April 13th, 2009, 2:43 pm

Marinepits wrote:
cheekymunkee wrote: ....but the human in charge is doing it, not the dogs themselves.


Exactly. I've yet to meet a dog that says "Hey, I better not eat because I need to make weight. Maybe I should up my cardio, too."

I have heard of female dogs that don't eat very well around their heat time, but that is more than likely hormone-driven than them trying to remain svelte.



This entire post tickled me lol
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Postby Marinepits » April 13th, 2009, 2:45 pm

Oh, do I AMUSE you?!? (said in best Joe Pesci mobster voice)
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Postby LMM » April 13th, 2009, 2:49 pm

You do Jen, you do. In a good way! :D


Btw, I agree with what you said about single dog households and multiples having different eating habits. Now, I am sure there are single dog households where the dog scarfs everything in sight and fast. I'll also add that mine eat very quickly while Otis Man growls like an angry lion as he stuffs a chicken back down his throat as fast as he can, sometimes choking :rolleyes2:
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Postby Marinepits » April 13th, 2009, 2:54 pm

LMM wrote:.....while Otis Man growls like an angry lion as he stuffs a chicken back down his throat as fast as he can, sometimes choking :rolleyes2:


Tucker will do that when he gets his pills in the morning. He gets wicked defensive and will almost hunch over my hand and make growly noises if the other dogs get too close. Now he gets his pills in a corner of the kitchen away from the others. :rolleyes2:
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Postby LMM » April 13th, 2009, 2:58 pm

Marinepits wrote:
LMM wrote:.....while Otis Man growls like an angry lion as he stuffs a chicken back down his throat as fast as he can, sometimes choking :rolleyes2:


Tucker will do that when he gets his pills in the morning. He gets wicked defensive and will almost hunch over my hand and make growly noises if the other dogs get too close. Now he gets his pills in a corner of the kitchen away from the others. :rolleyes2:



Lawd, these dogs. If Buddah so much as breathes Otis's way when they are eating, the most horrific sounds come out of his throat and it doesn't matter if his mouth is stuffed with food.
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Postby katiek0417 » April 13th, 2009, 3:37 pm

Marinepits wrote:Slightly off-topic, but I think single dogs tend to eat differently than multiple dogs -- I've noticed among my own crew that, when we feed them all together, everyone eats quickly and then looks around to make sure there isn't any more food.

When we just had Samantha years ago, she'd pick at her food all day and never have a sense of urgency over eating (unless she was given steak, LOL). When we adopted Katy, Sam suddenly developed a VERY different eating pattern -- when the food was put down for them, they'd both eat quickly and not leave any in their dishes.

Normally we feed the whole crew together at the same time, twice per day. (Of course, they are all separated away from eachother so there is no fighting.) Now, due to Indy's illness and his changed feeding schedule, we feed the four on their regular schedule and Indy is fed upstairs at another time and away from everyone. Indy is usually a HOOVER and the second one done with his food when they're all together. When he's alone, he picks at his food and takes a long time chomping each piece. However, if he hears the other dogs coming up the stairs, he inhales his food.

I think it all comes back to competition for food among dog "packs".


Great post....and when I think about it, it makes sense....which is why it's hard for me to explain Sacha...When it was just sacha, she scarfed down her food...even when it was Sacha and Nisha...she would scarf her food down...but now, it's a whole bunch of dogs, and she eats nice and slow!

mnp13 wrote:
Dog_Shrink wrote: I have known a few pitties that if they felt not in tip top shape would definately fast themselves,

Dogs don't have "feelings" about their weight. I don't think they have a concept of "self image."

Dog_Shrink wrote:I don't think that assuming an animal would fast itself if it felt unable to best represent itself physically if it needed to is NOT out of the realm of possible.

If it felt unable? Don't get me wrong, I adore my dogs and I tend to anthropomorphize them, but animals don't have the capacity to understand what their best physical shape is and then compare it to their current shape is and then gauge their eating habits accordingly.

I'd be very interested in the source of this information.


One thing I am wondering, however...no, I don't think a dog fasts itself as a result of understanding their best physical shape...but I do wonder if fasting can sometimes be a result of some knowledge that food would slow them down?

I say this because, in my house, Cy, Jue, and Nemo are the males...They will all (although Cy more than Nemo and Jue) lose their appetites when a female is in heat....especially Cy...and I think about how humans feel after a big meal - I feel full and don't want to do much...so, I wonder if Cy stops eating so he will have the energy to breed?

However, I don't think he does it to make himself leaner or more handsome...I just think it's more instinctual....sorry, I don't know if my post makes any sense...
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Postby Malli » April 13th, 2009, 3:53 pm

mnp13 wrote:
Malli wrote:My dog (APBT x AmBull) keeps himself lean, REALLY lean, but I think thats mainly his metabolism - he eats about 4-6 cups of food per day.


How does he "keep himself" lean? To me, that implies that he is doing something specific to influence his weight.



well, you know thats not what I meant :|
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Postby mnp13 » April 13th, 2009, 4:03 pm

No I didn't (seriously)
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Postby call2arms » April 13th, 2009, 6:29 pm

The only way I can think of this is that some dogs have ''less appetite'', ex. my mom's Golden who 1) was free fed, so didn't have to gobble up her food right away and 2) was super finicky about her food... But then again she'd be up and begging at the table anytime we'd eat, so we knew appetite was there, only for what she wanted.

I don't think animals, even in nature, would refrain from eating, they just naturally have cycles that revolve around feeding/breeding... Wolves will hunt when hungry, and rest when fed and full, that's just how it goes. I guess you have the occasional animal that'll hunt for pleasure but it's not a life-death matter so who cares if they are too full/sloppy to actually get the prey?

As far as animals fasting to be in peak condition for a ''human directed'' activity, I just don't believe this really happens, the dog is hungry or it's not. Maybe it's affected by conditioning/amount of training (and then I'd think they'd be more hungry) leading up to said activity, but again that's man controlled.

Jessie would eat till she exploded if I let her (my mom sees her eat and asks me if I ever feed her, lol), and so did many dogs that got into bags of food and came to the clinic rolling instead of walking...
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Postby TinaMartin » April 14th, 2009, 8:48 am

Gator would eat himself to death if we allowed it. Charles never had a dog before Gator and always felt bad for him. When he would come over Gator got all sorts of extras from daddy. Michelle can tell you he blew up like a balloon. We both had to gang up on C. (nicely of course) to get him to understand that Gator had to lose weight. Now he is nice and lean again. Dogs have no concept of being fat.
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Postby TheRedQueen » April 14th, 2009, 10:51 am

Xander is the only one of mine that will not eat on occasion. He used to skip meals all of the time when he was younger...or not finish. He'd be happy to be a single dog that free-fed...eating when he felt like it. But he's not concerned about keeping himself in shape...he's just more concerned about other things. (bounce a tennis ball while he's eating, and watch him leave his food bowl so fast it'll be spinning) :crazy2:

My basset was very lean, I kept her lean so you could see the last few ribs...but she got into a bag of dog food once and ate at least 5-8 pounds of food from our best guess...she was ROUND. But happy. She was convinced she was starving...bassets shouldn't have ribs! 8)

I've never seen a dog fast themselves to keep in tip-top shape...I've seen dogs not eat for other reasons (too nervous, anxious, interested in something else: ball, female, outside, etc) but never to keep themselves in shape.
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Postby LMM » April 14th, 2009, 10:56 am

The more I think about this whole "dogs fasting to keep themselves lean and fighting fit" concept, the more ridiculous it seems to me. My dogs would eat themselves into a coma every day of the week if I allowed it.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » April 14th, 2009, 11:40 am

lol Inara would too. She has skipped one meal in her whole life - I took her to the vet that day and she was running a nice fever.
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Postby Marinepits » April 14th, 2009, 6:18 pm

Marinepits wrote:
.....but it has been thrown around as a reason why perfectly healthy dogs decide to "all of a sudden" stop eating, only to start a few days later.....


Who is "throwing around"? Where are you getting this info? I'd be interested in reading more about it.


Greyhounds and salukis as well as afghans and other sight hounds have also been noted to do this.


References? I'd like to read more about this.


Bumping this up because several of us are still looking for more info......
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Postby BullyLady » April 15th, 2009, 12:07 am

LMM wrote:The more I think about this whole "dogs fasting to keep themselves lean and fighting fit" concept, the more ridiculous it seems to me. My dogs would eat themselves into a coma every day of the week if I allowed it.


I could not agree more. I keep coming back to this thread hoping the OP will have posted some backup, because the whole idea is really rather ludicrous to me. I mean, the only reason wild dogs aren't fat is because they have to hunt their meals, and because they eat gorge and fast style.

Other than that I would bet you money wild dogs would be just as fat and happy as my dogs would be if I would let them. Now, mind you, Sirius would need to eat upwards of 12 pounds a day to get fat, but if given the opportunity I have no doubts that he would.
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Postby dragonfly » April 15th, 2009, 7:58 am

I have 2 Whippets they have never missed a meal or snack :rolleyes2: Imo if they miss a meal there is something wrong with them
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